Difficult temperament and social maladjustment in childhood: The mediating role of family environment
The aim of this work was to analyze the mediating role of family environment in the relationship between difficult temperament and externalizing/internalizing problems in a sample of 474 Spanish children aged between 6 and 8 years. A secondary objective of this work was to analyze the effect of gender in the mediation pattern found. To measure externalizing/internalizing problems, marital adjustment, parenting practices and children’s temperament, the parents were given a Socialization Battery (BAS-1), the Marital Adjustment Test (MAT), the Spanish version of the PCRI (Parent-Child Relationship Inventory), and the Temperament in Middle Childhood Questionnaire (TMCQ). We tested a statistical mediation model that revealed the mediating role of marital adjustment, and the parenting practices of involvement and limit setting, in the relationship between difficult temperament and externalizing problems. We found that marital adjustment and parental involvement mediated the relationship between internalizing problems and difficult temperament. On the other hand, the results pointed to a different mediation pattern when we compared boys and girls. Specifically, we found that the mediating role of marital adjustment and parental involvement in the relationship between difficult temperament and externalizing problems was stronger in boys than in girls.
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